Foundations Skills Assessment: The administration of this assessment is being wrapped up in all elementary schools. Principals and Vice-Principals are administrating the test due to Phase One job action. The district team will be marking the tests on March 3rd. We extend our appreciation to all of the administrators for their efforts in organizing and completing these required assessments.
Roots of Empathy: Marieze Tarr will be leading a workshop for instructors on Thursday, March 1 at the district office. This workshop will support our volunteer instructors in presenting their programs in the schools. School District No. 53 has the largest ROE program in the province thanks to the work of Marieze and Lisa McCall.
i-Pad Project: This project at SOSS is two-pronged. Approximately 53 students have been loaned an i-Pad for the remainder of the school year for their classes, research, note-taking and learning. A cart of i-Pads is also available for teachers to use with students for individual classes. Apple Canada is supporting the training of teachers and students. Their next visit is tentatively scheduled for March. The purpose of the project is to provide students with ready access to reference information in the absence of a library and to engage in an inquiry exercise to see how the use of this technology enhances student learning and engagement. Tracy Harrington, Vice-Principal of SOSS is conducting a research project on this and will be sharing results as the project develops.
Report Cards: Report cards went out in secondary schools. They contained Grade 12 marks because of the Essential Services Order, names of teachers and courses, attendance and some other grades for courses taught by administrators. Parents have been asked to contact teachers directly for further progress details and final grades. Elementary Reports are due to go home prior to spring break.
Innovation / Initiatives
Secondary School Apprenticeship: The second of three meetings with our SSA Advisory Committee will be in Keremeos on Tuesday, March 13. This group comprises our career education teachers and employer sponsors from all areas of the district. We discuss issues related to SSA including economic trends, areas to explore for SSA and Work Experience, provincial, regional or local issues, and other emerging information or concerns. This committee has been quite beneficial in helping us find placements for students and directing students towards trades that will be in demand.
EDI: The Early Development Instrument completion is going well. Some teachers have completed their surveys. We want to extend our thanks to Chere Plante for leading this venture.
Aboriginal Education Report: This report will be sent to the Ministry of Education and posted on our web site which is presently under construction. We encourage all of our educational partners to read the report to understand our goals and strategies.
Health and Safety Workshop: The district held a Health and Safety training session on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at Osoyoos Secondary School library. This “Best Practice” session was facilitated by that dynamic duo of Lisa McCall and Shannon Miller and covered a variety of topics to assist school-based teams in the successful fulfillment of their duties, including: Health and Safety meetings and minutes; lock-down review (Code 53) – purpose and practice; yearly timelines checklist; drills list; and “procedures” sharing. The key concept behind the training was to simplify and make manageable Health and Safety tasks required of the site-based teams.
Anti-Bullying or “Pink Shirt” Day: is on Wednesday, February 29th. If you visit schools or the district office on the 29th, you’ll find many students and adults wearing pink shirts. These shirts have been provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Oliver to highlight this day and to bring attention to the need to stop bullying.
Approval is given for Mr. John Seminoff’s Osoyoos Secondary Glacier National Park field trip. This trip will take place on May 9 to 12, 2012 with 13 students participating. Students will explore “the forces of nature” as they study landforms made by ice, rivers, water, weathering and volcanism and gain a better understanding of the delicate balance between man and nature. This is the third year that Mr. Seminoff has taken students on the trip and everything is in order. . For information only, Mr. Jonnie Bridgeman will take his grades 8 and 9 band classes to the Sun Peaks Cantando Music Festival April 20 – 22, 2012. The application has been approved as per policy by the superintendent/designate.
Ready Set Learn: is a school readiness initiative sponsored by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Health. It provides an opportunity for elementary schools offering Kindergarten to influence school readiness of children. Schools that participate in Ready, Set, Learn receive funding to help plan school-based community events.
This program occurred at Okanagan Falls Elementary School on February 8, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:00. This year, over 41 parents and 35 children (…plus 7 older siblings) participated with an array of agencies in attendance including Public Health, dental hygienist, Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society, Infant Development, and the public librarian. The coordinator was our StrongStart facilitator, Samantha James. Principal Lisa McCall and all of her early learning team are to be commended for doing such an outstanding job providing this service to their community and future students.
Tuc-el-Nuit Toddler Centre Official Opening: will be combined with the Ready Set Learn program at Tuc-el-Nuit on Wednesday, March 7 at 3:00 p.m. Please come out to see the space, meet staff, and find out about the program.
January 2012 Enrolment Report: Student enrolment is 2,394.25 FTE which is an overall increase from September 2011 of 0.75 FTE. Elementary schools have decreased by 21 FTE, secondary schools decreased by 42.875 FTE and YouLearn has increased by 64.625 FTE since September 2011.
SOSS Update: Trustees reviewed the latest SOSS architectural drawings at the last Management Committee meeting. A meeting with the Ministry is scheduled for February 15 to review all cost items and to potentially sign off on the project. Greyback has received a letter from the insurance company advising that complete and thorough documentation is required in order to receive payment. Requests for proposal for the foundation and construction will go to tender once the district has confirmation of funds from the Ministry. It is anticipated that Treasury Board will review the request in March. We will release updated information to the community once we hear.
CUPE Ratification of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA): The Okanagan Labour Relations Council ratified the MOA with CUPE for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012 at their meeting on February 9. CUPE Local 523 also ratified the MOA on February 10/11 with 77% voting in favour.
2012/13 Playground Equipment Priorities: In order to access the 2012/13 playground equipment dollars, the Ministry advised districts to provide information regarding playground structures requiring replacement or upgrades. We are unsure when we will hear of opporutnities for our district. Below is the information submitted to the Ministry:
Priority #1: Similkameen Elementary Secondary School – The existing wooden structure was removed in summer 2011 and there is no playground at that site. Estimated cost to replace is $20,000.
Priority #2: Osoyoos Elementary School – Existing wooden structure does not meet current codes; needs to be replaced. Estimated cost to replace is $20,000.
Priority #3: Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School – The school has requested an upgrade to their primary area playground equipment. Estimated cost to replace is $10,000.
Automated Dispatch System Update
The district launched the Automated Dispatch System (ADS) for relief education assistants on February 20, 2012. ADS is a computer dispatching system that is used by the district to dispatch teachers-on-call. It has now been set up to dispatch relief education assistants. ADS is programmed to determine who is on first call out, who has autism training, and at which schools and which days relief EAs are available for assignments.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will take place on March 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm at the School Board Office.